Transition at the Top

Tim Solso and Tom Linebarger say years of planning went into the transition to Linebarger as the Company's leader in January of 2012.

The smooth transition to Tom Linebarger as the new leader of Cummins in January may be one of Tim Solso’s most satisfying accomplishments.

Solso, the Company’s chairman and chief executive officer from 2000 to 2011, has long said one of his greatest sustainability challenges was finding and developing the next generation of leaders at Cummins.

In one of a series of meetings Solso and Linebarger held with employees in the fall of 2011 to discuss the Company’s future, Solso said the transition to Linebarger had been underway for five years before his retirement was announced with little fanfare in July 2011.

The change has hardly caused a ripple because people both in and outside of the Company were familiar with Linebarger and his leadership style.

“As I have said on many occasions, I have great confidence in Tom and his team,” Solso said in a final letter to employees in December 2011. “So while I leave with some sense of sadness, I am also excited about the prospects ahead for Cummins.”

Solso, 64, worked in various positions at Cummins for 40 years. At the outset of his tenure as CEO, the Company was in the midst of severe financial problems. Solso and his team, which included Linebarger, steered Cummins through those difficulties, then developed a plan for long-term financial success that has resulted in extremely strong financial results for the past two years.

Linebarger, 49, is the first engineer to become CEO at the Company, but he also has a master’s degree in business from Stanford University. He previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer at Cummins from August 2008 to December 2011 and prior to that he he served stints as the leader of the Company’s Power Generation Business and as the Company’s Chief Financial Officer. Linebarger joined Cummins in 1994.

Cummins’ new CEO says he and Solso share a common belief that they are merely caretakers of a Company with a rich history, seeking to leave Cummins in better shape than they found it.

“Tim left the Company in a much stronger condition than he found it,” Linebarger said.  “That’s something I’d like to be able to do as well as he did.”

Solso, who championed Corporate Responsibility during his time as the leader of the Company, wants to stay active in that area through a family foundation. Otherwise, he says he’s trying to keep his options open as he approaches the next chapter in his life.

During that meeting with employees, he said he felt his blood pressure drop as soon he announced his impending retirement. Pointing to Linebarger, he said, “That’s the before picture.”

A wide smile came over his face as he then pointed at himself. “This is the after picture,” he said laughing.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins Employees Pledge Record Amount to United Way

Cummins employees work on a cleanup day sponsored by the United Way.
Cummins employees in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A.), work on a cleanup day sponsored by the United Way.

Cummins employees in 2018 set a record for giving to the United Way in North America, pledging more than $3 million.

The pledged amount represents about a 7 percent increase over pledges in 2017 and will be matched dollar for dollar by the Cummins Foundation, creating twice the impact for local communities.

The more than $6 million from Cummins and its employees will go towards initiatives addressing everything from homelessness and hunger to school readiness and programs promoting safe, healthy relationships.

“I can’t think of a better example of how our Cummins employees demonstrate our values both inside and outside of work, and are fully committed to powering a more prosperous world, than this record-setting campaign,” Cummins President and Chief Operating Officer Rich Freeland said in a blog post on the company’s internal website Monday (Dec. 17).

The United Way is a more than 125-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to helping individuals and families in North America achieve their potential through education, financial stability and healthy lifestyles.

Cummins has long partnered with the organization in the company’s efforts to build stronger communities and in keeping with its mission of “making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.”

The partnership is something Cummins leaders take seriously. Just last week, Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger joined Toyota Material Handling North America President and CEO Brett Wood in presenting $2,500 from each of their respective companies to four community organizations in Columbus, Indiana (U.S.A), including the United Way.

Both companies have their headquarters in Columbus and share a common belief that they have an obligation to improve the quality of life in the communities where they do business.

The Salvation Army, Lincoln-Central Family Neighborhood Center and the Columbus Firemen’s Cheer Fund received a total of $5,000 each in addition to the United Way’s 2-1-1 initiative, an effort to connect people in need with the appropriate service provider.

Linebarger said while Cummins is focused on innovation, building the best products and offering outstanding customer service, it is also dedicated to lending a helping hand in the communities where it does business.

“There is nothing more important that we do than help the people in our community,” Linebarger said.

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins Officer Calls on State to be More Inclusive

Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose participates in a panel discussion on ways business can be a force for good (photos courtesy of the Indianapolis Business Journal).
Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose participates in a panel discussion on ways business can be a force for good (photo courtesy of the Indianapolis Business Journal).

Cummins Chief Administrative Officer Marya Rose called for comprehensive hate crimes legislation in the company’s home state of Indiana during a forum on how business can be a force for good.

 

Indiana is one of five states that does not have a statewide law that specifically addresses hate crimes. Such legislation can enable prosecutors to seek higher penalties for criminal acts motivated by hate.

“We can talk about inclusion, but there’s still just some basic things we need to do as a state to make Indiana welcoming, and passing a comprehensive hate crimes bill is table stakes for our state,” Rose said while participating today (Dec. 14) in a panel discussion at Engage Indiana in Indianapolis. 

“So many people in this community have already gotten together, with not for profits and the United Way and we intend to make this happen,” Rose added. “This is going to happen this year. This is our time and we need to make it happen right now.”

The Indiana Legislature has considered hate crimes legislation for years but proponents have never managed to get the necessary support to pass a bill.

Rose maintains hate crimes legislation is needed to make Indiana a truly welcoming and inclusive place. Even the appearance that Indiana tolerates crimes of hate can send an unwelcoming message to people from diverse groups.

That can make it harder for companies to recruit the diverse talent they need to develop the most creative answers to their customers’ business challenges. Rose’s comments got an enthusiastic reaction from the audience of business leaders in attendance at the event sponsored by the Indianapolis Business Journal and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Cummins has a long history of taking a leadership role on issues involving diversity. Company leaders, for example, have spoken out against legislation banning gay marriage around the U.S.

Creating an inclusive environment can be challenging, Rose said. And it’s something Cummins is focusing on as it moves forward in its diversity journey.

“You can have a diverse employee population, and by that I mean all facets of diversity not just visible facets but invisible facets, and yet we can struggle with inclusion,” Rose said. “If someone doesn’t feel like they can bring their whole self to work, in a sexual orientation way, in a religious way, however it is, then we aren’t getting the best out of that employee.”

Passing hate crimes legislation is a step Indiana can take so diverse people can bring their whole selves to the state. Rose maintains that, in turn, will make Indiana more attractive for everyone. 
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Cummins Places High in Management, Sustainability Rankings

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger attends a meeting of the Women's Affinity Group in 2017.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger attends a meeting of the Women's Affinity Group in 2017.

Cummins has been named to two lists released this month reflecting the company’s strong management and sustainability initiatives.

 

The company finished No. 82 in the 2018 Wall Street Journal’s "Management Top 250"  released last week (Dec. 3), and No. 80 in the 2019 JUST 100, a list of America's most just companies released today (Dec. 10).

THE MANAGEMENT TOP 250

The Wall Street Journal’s rankings were prepared by the Drucker Institute, named for the late professor, author and longtime Wall Street Journal Columnist Peter Drucker. “To be a manager requires more than a title, big office and other outward symbols of rank,” he once wrote. “It requires competence and performance of high order.”

Cummins’ ranking is up from No. 94 in the 2017 Management Top 250 and includes five out of five possible stars for the company’s social responsibility performance. That’s up from four stars in 2017.

The social performance ranking is based on multiple indicators of community involvement, environmental stewardship, governance performance and whether “a company has put a social purpose at the core of its business strategy.” Cummins corporate mission is: “Making people’s lives better by powering a more prosperous world.”

The company received four-star rankings for customer satisfaction, employee engagement and development and financial strength. Cummins was the third highest ranked company in its sector – automotive/vehicles, preceded only by General Motors (No. 37) and Ford (No. 42). 

Three technology companies topped the list – Apple (No. 1), Amazon (No. 2) and Microsoft (No. 3).

AMERICA’S JUST 100

Cummins has made the JUST 100 every year since it was initiated in 2016. The list is produced by a partnership between Forbes magazine and JUST Capital, which measures company performance against the American public’s definition of just corporate behavior based on public polling.

Last year, Cummins finished No. 45 in the JUST 100,  and No. 3 in the commercial vehicles and machinery category behind Rockwell Automation (No. 13) and Caterpillar (No. 38).

Cummins finished No. 80 in this year's survey and No. 3 again in the commercial vehicles and machinery category behind Caterpillar (No. 49) and Rockwell (No. 73). Tech companies also finished a top the JUST 100 led by Microsoft (No. 1), Intel (No. 2) and Alphabet (Google) (No. 3).

The JUST Capital poll of 81,000 Americans found several interesting findings, including:

  • 76 percent of working Americans said they would opt to work at a more just company even if the pay was less.
  • 78 percent of those polled said they had taken action to show their support for a corporation’s positive behavior.
  • 63 percent said they think CEOs have a responsibility to take a stand on important social issues.

Cummins CEO Tom Linebarger has been a proponent of environmental sustainability, maintaining protecting the environment while growing the economy is the challenge of our time.
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

Linebarger Calls for Pragmatic Approach to China Trade Standoff

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger (center) participates in a panel on trade with China sponsored by the Business Roundtable.
Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger (center) participates in a panel on trade with China sponsored by the Business Roundtable.

Cummins Chairman and CEO Tom Linebarger said this week he hopes U.S. negotiators will take a pragmatic approach that focuses on market access during the 90-day suspension of the trade war between the U.S. and China.

“We should be thinking about pragmatic market access,” Linebarger said at a summit Thursday on innovation sponsored by the Business Roundtable, a group of CEOs from America’s largest companies who believe business leaders have a responsibility to help build an economic future in the U.S. 

“…What are our goals in the near term, this 90-day term? What can we do to increase practical market access for American businesses in China and what can we get them to practically stop doing that’s just unfair practices like stealing IP (intellectual property) etc.?”

Linebarger said starting with a single issue like market access can build momentum toward solving other issues that currently have the two economic superpowers at odds.

 “I think as soon as we are into negotiation and engagement, the chances for win-win solutions go up,” said the Cummins CEO, who has been an outspoken advocate for free trade and a critic of retaliatory tactics such as tariffs.

TRADE IS A JOB PRODUCER

Linebarger maintains Cummins is an example of how trade can be a job producer not a job killer. Trade has been the single largest contributor to Cummins’ growth over the past 15 years. As the company has grown globally, it has invested and added jobs in communities with Cummins plants such as Columbus, Indiana; Jamestown, New York; Rocky Mount, North Carolina and other American communities. 

Linebarger was part of a panel on “Competition and Collaboration with China for Leadership in Innovation” at the event in Washington, D.C. Other members included U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Virginia; Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China under President Obama and the current governor of the state of Washington, and Dean Garfield, president and CEO of ITI, a technology company.

The summit invited business leaders and government officials of both parties, including Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, who participated in a panel on the “Future of Work in an Era of Automation and Artificial Intelligence.”

Linebarger agreed with his panel that issues like the forced sharing of intellectual property, patent infringement, counterfeiting and the stealing of proprietary technology are huge problems for U.S. companies that create an unlevel playing field for doing business in China.

Panelists said these practices may have been understandable when China was an emerging economy but not now that it is the second largest economy in the world.

CHINA'S IMPORTANT ROLE

Linebarger, however, also said Cummins would not be the company it is today were it not for the role China has played in innovation at Cummins and the company’s overall growth. The size of the market alone makes it critical to Cummins. Of the 1.3 million engines the company produces annually, about 500,000 are sold in China.

Other panelists suggested the U.S. should consider adopting some of the trade practices China employs for Chinese companies that want to do business in the United States. 

But Linebarger said it’s important for the U.S. to maintain its free market principles, which he argued are critical to innovation and can’t be duplicated by a planned economy dictated by the state.

“Just because everything is so centrally planned and subsidized doesn’t necessarily mean a win for China,” Linebarger said, looking at the electric vehicle market. He maintains companies can start to chase subsidies under such a system rather than work toward a vehicle that meets the demands of customers.

“They aren’t at the edge of competition,” he said. “They don’t feel the knife every day. …We may not win but if we do we are going to be lean and mean and tough.”
 

blair claflin director of sustainability communications

Blair Claflin

Blair Claflin is the Director of Sustainability Communications for Cummins Inc. Blair joined the Company in 2008 as the Diversity Communications Director. Blair comes from a newspaper background. He worked previously for the Indianapolis Star (2002-2008) and for the Des Moines Register (1997-2002) prior to that. [email protected]

 

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